Health Department leads push for diabetes awareness

By Adrianna Pitrelli
TheStatehouseFile.com

 INDIANAPOLIS — Every 21 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes, which is why the Indiana State Department of Health is encouraging Hoosiers to take precautions against the deadly disease during November, National Diabetes Month.

“Diabetes is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness, but there are ways you can prevent or delay the onset of the most common types of diabetes,” said Dr. Kristina Box, state health commissioner in a statement. “Exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco use and getting your blood glucose checked regularly are all important steps toward a healthier life.”

Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana’s new Department of Health commissioner

Diabetes is a disease that develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or is unable to use insulin effectively. Currently, 750,000 Hoosiers live with diabetes, a 37 percent increase since 2005.

The Indiana State Department of Health is organizing a prevention program to encourage people to increase physical activity, eat healthy and lose weight — all changes that could help save a person’s life.

The American Diabetes Association hopes to show Americans the importance of diabetes awareness.

“Diabetes is serious and it impacts all of us,” said Tracey Drzich, area executive director for American Diabetes Association. “Diabetes is so much more than the medications, devices and lifestyle tools used to manage it.”

In 2013, Indiana had four programs to help people with diabetes prevention, but program has expanded to 92 locations across the state. The program is targeted toward people with pre-diabetes — conditions one-third of Indiana adults have. People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Diabetes doesn’t just take a physical toll on people, it also can cause a financial strain. The average price for healthcare for a person without diabetes is $2,935 a year. But with the addition of the disease, healthcare can cost Hoosiers upward of $11,000, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

Indiana State Department of Health also will partner with diabetes education programs to educate Hoosiers with diabetes about ways to lower blood sugar, like staying hydrated and controlling stress levels.

“It’s time to come together and raise awareness of the diabetes epidemic facing our nation.” Drzich said.

For information about the Indiana State Department of Health programs, Hoosiers are encouraged to visit preventdiabetes.isdh.in.gov. People can also share their diabetes story to spread awareness but using #DearDiabetes on social media.

Adrianna Pitrelli is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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